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Nonprofit Fleets: Tackle Route Planning, Driver Coaching With Telematics

By Verizon ConnectDecember 7, 2020

Now, more than ever, nonprofits are pushed to do more with less. This includes grantmaking foundations, advocacy groups, civic clubs, social organizations and any other nonprofit that employs field workers to provide community and business services.

These types of nonprofits often have dedicated vehicles or small fleets to help advance their mission. But like other areas of the organization, the vehicles have to run as efficiently, safely and cost-effectively as possible to account for tight budgets and, often, limited staff or volunteers. 

Overcoming these and other challenges requires investment in technology solutions that can help nonprofits deliver maximum ROI. Telematics technology is one of these solutions. Here’s an overview of four common challenges fleet-based nonprofits face, and how telematics technology helps to overcome them.

Challenge 1: keeping tabs on vehicle location and activity

Nonprofits have a lot on their plates, and resources are limited. That makes keeping track of driver destinations and vehicle locations more difficult. Especially if done manually. However, the ability to effectively monitor driver activity, including routes taken and stops made, is key to streamlining fleet efficiency.

Telematics technology enables nonprofits to improve customer service and better address business decisions by providing near real-time data and reports around vehicle location and activity tracking. Whether reviewing current data or analyzing historic data, nonprofits can gain fleet visibility by leveraging these useful tools:

  • Vehicle History: Vehicle history (breadcrumb) reports show routes taken and can also help uncover patterns related to inefficient or out-of-the way routes.
  • Live Map: Map view provides a view of the entire fleet on one screen at the same time. Nonprofits can instantly see where all vehicles are at any given moment.
  • Geofencing: Geofences can monitor specific areas of interest and highlight specific activity within that area. Nonprofits can also create geofences as a way to clarify for drivers what areas are off limits.
  • Routing & Planning: Using route optimization and planning software, nonprofits can electronically plan and sequence job assignments to plan efficient use of driver’s time, fuel, and miles driven (to reduce wear and tear on each vehicle).

Challenge 2: promoting driver safety

For a nonprofit, reputation is everything and safety is a top priority. Drivers operating fleet vehicles in a less than desirable manner can put themselves and the general public at risk. And since those vehicles are tied to the organization, aggressive or unsafe driving can have a negative effect on a nonprofit’s brand image and impact its ability to carry out its mission. Nonprofits need a better way to manage and coach driver behavior and help facilitate safe driving protocols.

Telematics technology monitors driver behavior, giving nonprofits a window into whether riskier behaviors like speeding, harsh braking and hard cornering are taking place. Nonprofit managers can run reports to uncover driving trends or specific driving instances, use system data to improve driver coaching, and create alerts to get automatically notified if an unsafe driving incident occurs. They can also take advantage of specific features to curb undesirable or risky driving habits, these include:

  • Safety Reports
  • Scorecards
  • Mobile Manager
  • Driver Apps
  • Integrated Video
  • GPS Navigation

Find out how your public service fleet can benefit from fleet management technology. Download this free guide.

Challenge 3: grappling with high operating expenses

Nonprofit budgets are tight and positive cashflow is not guaranteed. That’s why managing operating expenses, including those related to fleet vehicles, is particularly critical for nonprofit organizations. However, this requires detailed oversight into vehicle maintenance, fuel usage, labor costs and more. And most nonprofits lack the time, and manpower, to track this information manually. This is where technology comes in.

Telematics technology can help nonprofits keep track of the little, and big, facets related to operating fleet vehicles economically and efficiently, including excessive idling, inefficient routing, routine maintenance and safety inspections. To gain a better handle on vehicle cost management, nonprofits can take advantage of:

  • Fuel monitoring and integration: Manage fuel usage by monitoring purchases at the pump, and track fuel card usage to automatically identify suspicious transactions using smart algorithms that help identify and reduce fuel card fraud.
  • Vehicle maintenance and scheduling systems: Provide comprehensive maintenance tracking and preventative scheduling to help increase equipment uptime. Generate vehicle maintenance alerts for your own service department or local dealer and monitor vehicle usage. Help improve the accuracy of your preventative maintenance program to control costs.
  • Commercial navigation: Gives your drivers directions and the most fuel-efficient routes to their destination based on their vehicle class. They can avoid driving on restricted roads and get turn-by-turn GPS navigation.

Challenge 4: Providing proof of services performed

For nonprofits that provide services, part of ensuring customer satisfaction and supporting a positive reputation is delivering the services you agree to perform and then being able to verify satisfactory completion.

But it can be hard to rely on paper-based records or simply the word of the service provider in a time where everything is logged and tracked, or when a customer may claim one thing but your records say another.

Telematics technology enables the near-real time capture of customer signatures, photos and other information via digital forms with time stamps. This digital verification gets stored securely in the cloud for quick, easy retrieval by the back office for improved visibility into whether a job has been completed and when.

Nonprofits face an array of operating challenges. Managing fleet vehicles doesn’t have to be one of them. To find out more about how fleet tracking technology can streamline nonprofit fleet management, click here.  


Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.


Tags: Community, Government, Public works

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